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Volunteer Legal Intern Positions

Each year approximately 1,000 law students from across the country come to the Department of Justice to work as volunteer legal interns. The United States Attorney’s Office welcomes candidates to participate in these programs.

These appointments have been established on a volunteer (NON-PAID) basis. Legal interns may be assigned to work in any division. Assignments may include assisting attorneys with legal research, writing pleadings, trial preparation, appellate briefs, or responding to habeas corpus petitions. Interns are encouraged to observe trials and other court proceedings in cases on which they have worked or in cases of general interest in the office. Third year law students are allowed to participate in court proceedings if all required prerequisites have been met.

Appointment to an internship is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a background investigation by the Department of Justice. This is a thorough investigation that includes reference checks with current and former employers, military records and credit bureaus. Final adjudication of security clearances can take from four to six months; therefore, the Department can grant a waiver for most positions, allowing the selectee to enter on duty, while the investigation is being conducted. United States citizenship is required.

Summer Law Volunteer Program (approximately 10 weeks)

Any law student enrolled at least half-time, and who has completed at least one semester of law school is eligible to apply for volunteer internship positions at any time. First-year law students who have not completed their first semester may apply for volunteer internships after December 1. Part-time law students and joint-degree candidates may also apply for volunteer internship positions. Law school graduation terminates eligibility for volunteer positions except for graduate law students who are enrolled at least half time and not practicing law.

To apply for the summer program visit the Department of Justice website at

Applications deadline is in January of each year.

Updated November 18, 2019